Epson Powerlite W16SK Projector Review

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Epson W16SK Projector: Bottom Line

The W16SK from the time it was announced, sounded like a great 3D solution for the classroom, training room and other venues where the goal is to present 3D (and 2D as well) to larger groups of people.

Offering standard WXGA 1280×800 resolution, the W16SK is a great projector solution in the classroom, conference room, training room type environments.  Having 6000 lumens with both projectors fired up, tends to other classroom projectors (typically 2000 – 3000 lumens) seem pretty dim compared to the W16SK.   The cost savings in setups where you need lots of 3D glasses, also makes for lower long term costs.

Overall, Epson opted for a simple, easy to use solution.  It’s pretty straight forward in terms of getting it set up and into operation.  Menus are rather bare bones, rather than offering a great many “extras.”  For example, you can select a color mode such as Presentation, but not start messing with fine color adjustments.  Interestingly, the W16SK can run in single projector mode, where the menus now have more features.  Simple works pretty nice though.

These two W16 projectors that make up the W16SK are 3LCD projectors, sporting equal numbers of white and color lumens which also give the W16SK a real advantage when compared to single chip DLP projectors.  I’m talking when comparing brightest modes in terms of having good color.

The Epson stack can produce really good color, at a brightness level that a classroom 3D capable single chip projector can’t begin to approach.  Even if those 3D projectors with active glasses could match the brightness they would still be at a distinct disadvantage in terms of color handling.  True, good single chip DLP projectors can have excellent color in their less bright modes, but 3LCD projectors usually have a real color advantage when comparing various bright modes.

What’s the W16SK projector system all about?  3D!

If 3D brightness wasn’t a major issue in the classroom, few would even think once about needing a 6000 lumen projector system.  Certainly almost all classrooms are served well enough with good 2500 and 3000 lumen projectors for 2D presenting/teaching.

But the significant cost savings are a key factor.  While the W16SK being a two projector rig, costs double or even more than some competing 3D projectors, the idea of spending $3 a pair for 3D glasses instead of $40 or $60, or more per pair quickly offsets any savings from using a lower cost projector.  When one factors in the idea that some pairs of 3D glasses are sure to disappear each year, the savings by going with the W16SK could prove to be massive.

Also many consider passive 3D setups easier to watch, another plus when you have 20, 30, 40 people watching.  The more that find the 3D experience to be great, rather than “a headache”, the better for all.

We congratulate Epson on their W16SK Dual Projector concept. It may not be the only passive solution possible, but it is well executed.  The W16SK serves up exceptionally bright 2D and 3D performance combined with the strong value proposition, earns the W16SK a Hot Product Award.  There’s more! In this year’s Education Projector report, the W16SK wins our Best In Classroom: 3D Projector award.

And you should consider that the award means not only great 3D from the W16SK, but that the projector is also deserving for its 2D performance.

Epson W16SK Projector: Pros

  • 3000 claimed lumens and produced 3112 in the projector’s brightest mode
  • Ultra short throw design allows wall mounting above a screen which typically saves real money compared to ceiling mounting
  • Plenty of brightness allows most users to run in “eco-mode” where Mitsubishi rates the lamp life at an exceptionally long 6000 hours.  In a very busy classroom setting where it might be used at 20 hours a week, 30 weeks a year, that’s 10 years!
  • For interactivity, the W16SK relies on devices like iPads, instead of wands/pointers/pens/remotes
  • Built in “thin-client”
    • Can present files from remote servers/the cloud
  • Can present from a computer that is remotely controlled by an iOS such as the iPad or iPhone, or Android devices
  • USB Display provides alternative to using analog computer, or HDMI signals for interfacing with PCs and Macs
  • Can present various documents on iOS devices (and Android – we did not test Android) supported by Wifi Docs app
  • A full suite of inputs and outputs making it capable of just about anything
  • Extremely sharp image for an “ultra short throw” projector, especially good in maintaining sharpness from center to edge
  • Good evenness of illumination, which is typically a challenge for ultra-short throw projectors
  • Can produce a 100″ image from as close as 31 inches
  • Good documentation (in addition to the User manual on disc provided, there is a printed setup manual which was reasonably good.
  • Really good 2 year warranty with 2 years of rapid replacement program

Epson W16SK Projector: Cons

  • Although stacked projector sharpness is acceptable, it certainly could be a bit sharper.  That, however, would probably require adjustable lens shift, instead of keystone correction and corner correction controls, and Adjustable lens shift adds a good deal to a projector’s cost, which would damage the value proposition of the W16SK as a complete and affordable 3D projector solution for the classroom and training room.
  • Placement flexiblity is very limited, but then this is a projector system that really needs to be permanently setup.
  • Colors could be better – typical single chip DLP related color handling, with less than great reds and yellows.  Typical may not be fair, better than average I would say, but not up to a typical LCD projector
  • Documentation:  Good, but could be better.  The Setup manual was pretty good, I scratched my head once or twice, but it all worked.  Perhaps the main missing things were the tiny details.  I could have saved 3 minutes rummaging through the projectors box looking for the two screws that are used (one each) to attach the polarizing filters.  They were taped inside each filter unit, rather than being in the usual bags of cables/remote/batteries.   A video of setting up the W16SK would be a real plus to include.  That’s one of the reasons we have created a setup video.  As this review goes online, that video is in post production, and will have been posted and linked to from this page when live.
  • Remote is smallish, A bigger and backlit remote, with easier to read buttons would be better, but as such remotes are rare outside of home theater projectors, this doesn’t make the W16SK worse than any other small commercial projector.
  • A two projector stack is going to make more fan noise than a single projector. While both projectors running at full power is hardly quiet, it shouldn’t pose a problem for a classroom or training room.  In Eco mode, the projectors are reasonably quiet.
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